Jim Bell's Email crash: Why not sue Yahoo AND the NSA?
jamesdbell9 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 1 19:12:04 PST 2014
I just received a seeming 'boilerplate' (pre-canned) email from Yahoo email, saying that my previous account (jamesdbell8 at yahoo.com) will be deleted. It does not repeat the previous claim of "abuse" on the account, but the timing of the events strongly suggests that the source of the problem was an attack on probably millions of Yahoo email addresses that has occurred over the last week or so. Naturally, I am completely outraged that they allowed such an event to result in actual loss of 'all' data in the account. Could it be that Yahoo's system was truly damaged so seriously as to cause the complete loss of my email and address-list database?
However, I am reminded of the old saying, "If you get lemons, make lemonade". Because of Edward Snowden's revelations, we have known that the NSA has been storing all domestic, and probably as many foreign, emails as they could get their grubby little hands on. Why not a class-action lawsuit demanding that Yahoo obtain prior emails from the NSA?
While it is difficult to sue the US (primarily due to something called "Sovereign Immunity"), I am aware that the Federal government has already waived Sovereign immunity for everything except money damages. (In other words, you can sue them for 'declaratory' and 'injunctive' relief: A court could order the NSA to deliver the data back to Yahoo.)
Does anyone out in the Wide World of Cypherpunks know of an attorney wanting to take on this kind of issue? It could put the NSA in a world of hurt for taking the data, and make them realize that one consequence of taking hold of such a massive amount of data is that they will ultimately be sued if it is necessary to recover. It would also put email providers such as Yahoo on notice that they have additional obligations (other than those they think they have) to recover lost emails.
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